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Orange County First-Degree Murder Attorneys

California Penal Code Section 189 Defense

If you're being charged with first-degree murder, you could be sent to prison for life. At Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we know that every murder change is different. With over a decade of experience, we have been able to reduce many charges of first-degree murder to lesser charges of second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and voluntary manslaughter. More impressively, we have been able to not only reduce clients' charges, but also have charges of murder found "not guilty" or dismissed altogether. Call us immediately at (714) 332-6951 so that we can protect your rights.

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Understanding First-Degree Murder

Under California law, there are several ways to be charged with first-degree murder:
  • The person charged acted willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation. This means the person charged with murder planned their actions. The length of time the person spends planning or considering committing a murder doesn't play any factor in murder charges.
  • The victim was tortured to death.
  • The person charged with murder was "lying in wait." This means the person charged concealed themselves from the victim and waited/watched for an opportunity to commit murder.
  • Using a destructive or explosive device. This includes using bombs or any murder weapon that involved assembling or installing the device in place.
  • The victim was poisoned.
  • Victim was killed by way of "Felony Murder Rule." This includes murders committed during the act of an "inherently dangerous" felony. The list of felonies that fall under the "Felony Murder Rule" include: arson, burglary, kidnapping, mayhem, rape, and robbery.

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Examples of First-Degree Murder Charges

To be charged with first-degree murder, it must be proven that your actions where planned in advance. Here are a few examples of situations that can lead to first-degree murder charges:
  • Traveling to a person's house intending to kill them
  • Lying in wait for someone to return to their home or car to kill them
  • Any murder involving a destructive device or explosive device
  • Victims being shot during crimes like robbery and burglary

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Penalties for First-Degree Murder in California

If convicted of first-degree murder you face 25 years-to-life in the California state prison. If your first-degree murder conviction was based on a "hate crime," you face a state prison sentence for life without the possibility of parole.

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Additional Penalties for First-Degree Murder in Califoria

  • Up to an extra 25 years to your sentence if the murder was committed using a firearm
  • First-degree murder is a "strike" on your record against California's three strikes law
  • Additional sentencing if the murder was found to be gang-related
  • A maximum fine of $10,000
  • The lost of your legal right to own a firearm

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First-Degree Murder Defense in Orange County

Murder is a complex charge. One of the defense options that can be used is whether or not you really committed first-degree murder or whether there were other issues involved that didn't make it a direct murder. The important thing to remember is that you do have several first-degree murder defense options. During a trying time such as this, it is in your best interests to contact our defense lawyer who can give you a full review of your case and plan out the best defense options for you.

Here are the most common legal defenses for first-degree murder an experienced Orange County violent crime lawyer may use:

  • Self defense
  • Defense of other people
  • The killing was accidental
  • Temporary insanity
  • False and coerced confessions
  • Police evidence was obtained by an illegal search and seizure

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Call Us Now For a Free Case Evaluation

This is a charge that can change you and your family's life forever, which is why it's so important to contact our Orange County murder defense attorneys right away. There is hope. For the past decade, we have freed clients of murder charges, and we can work to keep you or your loved one out of jail.

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation at (714) 332-6951.

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Additional Information

Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.

(714) 530-9690

Payment options available:

Payment options available:

Client Reviews

“It was strongly recommended that I call federal defense attorney Michael L. Guisti. He had several investigators look at records and such, and my federal case was dismissed. Michael Guisti does what few attorneys can do, beat the federal government, and that is why if you’re in trouble with the government you need to call Michael Guisti right away!”

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“I had everything to lose, my future, my education. Basically I did something that got me a misdemeanor, and the judge wanted to give a guilty plea. But Michael Guisti would not back down. Instead he fought for me, and now my record is clean.”

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“Back in 2003 I was facing attempted murder. My family hired Michael Guisti to represent me. He is a very good attorney. He always answered my calls, addressed my questions and concerns, and kept me updated about my case. Thank you Michael Guisti for winning my case. I highly recommend anyone facing a criminal charge to see Michael Guisti.”

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Case Results

sex crimes

Case Dropped

Young man charged and arrested for sexual battery.


Case Dropped

Man charged with assault with a deadly weapon for hitting someone in the face with a heavy metal dust pan.

drug crimes

Served Less Than 30 Days in Jail

Young man charged with selling 1000 tabs of ecstasy to undercover officer.

Attempted Murder

Reduced to Assault With Deadly Weapon

Young man knocks the eye out his victim with a metal pipe. Charged with attempted murder and aggravated mayhem. Both cases carried life sentences.

Assault & Battery

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Woman arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon using scissors on a co-worker.

Vehicular Assault

Serves 80 Days on Work Furlough

Man charged with three felony counts of vehicular assault with a deadly weapon.


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OC First-Degree Murder Lawyer Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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